June 1, 2015
My brother is scarred for life. Small spaces are claustrophobic for the man. It is because he was trapped in a trunk on a hot summer day with no one to rescue him except for the mentally challenged woman on the next door neighbor's stoop. He was surrounded by hot, sticky, plastic bags and me, the girl who put him there.
No, he didn't deserve it. Doug was quiet, cooperative and easy going. I was obnoxious, loud, and high maintenance. We were moving to another town, again. We moved every four years and my father was not in the military. He just was getting better social work positions. My mother was in the house getting more things ready and we were about to head out. Or so I thought.
Doug and I were playing one of our favorite games; you hop in and I close the trunk then I hop in and you close the trunk. Only a kid can understand the fun of being in a trunk. Our games were stupid and such a blast.
So, I decided to pull this game to a new level. Let's be "in" together. I asked mom she said no.
I walked out the door, hopped in the trunk and shut it. We were surrounded by hot sticky plastic bags with little to no oxygen. Doug knew to ask, "What did mom say?"
"She said no." All Sunday School lessons out the window. "Mom is coming right out, Bro."
He always worried, I was too stupid to. She was coming out, we were taking things to our new home. Then I heard the vacuum. Oh, boy, not looking good. It's hot and she is vacuuming. Doug was searching for pockets of air. I told him to take off his shirt, we were going to have to wait this out. I always knew what to do in emergency situations, especially the ones I created. But first I asked, "Doug, let's bring this to the Lord, will you pray with me?"
First, we decided to call out to Myrtle, a special needs, older woman, from the local state home. The neighbors had a few of these women. They helped Mrs. Altman clean and cook for her six kids. Over the years I have thought of Mrs. Altman and her good fortune. Myrtle would often sit out on the front steps facing Gilette's Hill catching her breath between her work load. But today she was hearing voices; Muffled, hot, sticky voices, "MYRTLE, MYRTLE!" As we watched her looking up into the air and all around we couldn't help but laugh. We felt bad giving her more reason to doubt her reasoning. But we were desperate, we had to do it to her.
In the meantime my prayer penetrated the walls of the home. Mom all of sudden thought to turn off the vacuum. Something was not right. She couldn't hear us, that meant trouble.
She walked out onto the porch. From there she could see the dangling keys. "Stupid kids!"
Don't sugar coat it Mom!
For every second in that trunk, Doug was gaining more and more nightmare material and his claustrophobia was raging. As soon as the trunk was opened, he jumped into my mother's arms. It was then I realized what I had done. For a while, sleep wouldn't come easy for my little brother, for a while.
Hey Doug, would you forgive me.... and no, I'm not laughing....... I mean, you know........